Libya: UN to use previously frozen funds to procure medical supplies
17 August 2011 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is to use €100 million ($144.3 million) from Libyan accounts frozen by the Dutch Government to buy medical supplies to ease severe shortages caused by the ongoing conflict in the North African country.
“We would like to express our gratitude to the Government of the Netherlands who basically, at the request of the WHO, implemented the decision of the UN sanctions committee and released funds that will be used for procuring medical supplies for Libya,” said Tarik Jasarevic, the WHO spokesperson, in an interview with UN Radio.
The resources from Libyan Government accounts – frozen as called for under the Security Council sanctions – will be used by WHO to procure medical supplies to be distributed across the country, including in areas controlled by the Libyan opposition, Mr. Jasarevic said.
“Supplies of essential supplies are really running short,” he said, adding that Libyan hospitals have been hit by a lack of essential drugs such as insulin, as well as cancer treatments, laboratory and surgical supplies and medicines to treat non-communicable diseases.
“All these are in short supply because Libya [has] not [been] procuring [them] for months now,” said Mr. Jasarevic.
He said that Libya used to spend between $500 million and $700 million on imported drugs and others medical supplies annually before the conflict. The funds released by the Dutch Government would buy enough supplies to last eight to 10 weeks, according to Mr. Jasarevic.
In February, the Security Council voted to impose sanctions against Libyan authorities, slapping the country with an arms embargo and freezing the assets of its leaders after a bloody crackdown against opposition demonstrators calling for greater freedoms.
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